This is the first article we are writing in a mini-series all about document management, how it can help your business and the tips you can use to help you integrate this system into your business. First up is the biggest question of all – why do I need a document management system?
Right out of the gate; we have developed a document management system that we are looking to sell (why else do you think we’re writing these articles? J) The reason I mention this is because when I am visiting a current or potential client and I tell them about our document management solution I often get a response like “Why do I need one of those? – we just email and that works fine” in response to using emails to manage and send documents – we have a whole article on that coming soon. The reasons you would have a document management system are plentiful, including: –
Improved collaboration – A document management system enables multiple people to view the same document at the same time, features such as comments and workflow enable groups to do things with the document quickly, efficiently and concurrently. This means that the process for approval / authorisation of documents is expedited.
Better security – Document management systems offer added layers of security; in the first place only registered users can access the system. You can also go one step further by configuring your document management system so that access requests need to be approved by an administrator and you can also set the parameters for passwords. Secondly, keeping documents on a document management system makes it a lot more difficult for documents to be read/ used/ amended or deleted by users who are not authorised to do so as permissions can be set on an individual level so each user will only be able to view and perform actions on documents that they have been authorised to do so.
Improved version control – Using a document management systems ensures that you are working on the most up to date version of a document. Many document management systems have a versioning process built into them and some even allow you to view and (if necessary) access previous versions of that document. If you rely on emails or paper copies then you are always running the risk that you are not using the most current version of the document. Also as there is only one document on the system you can be sure that everyone is working on the same document.
Easier to search through data – Most document management systems will have an integrated search facility built into them enabling you to enter key words. You can also run searches based on defined parameters or filters such as a “From” and “To” date allowing you to hone in on the documents you want to find. With paper based storage, searching for documents is extremely tricky, even if you have labelled storage boxes/ files correctly you still have a lot of searching to do and you always run the risk of someone filing something in the wrong place meaning a document is not where it’s supposed to be. Having a document management system eliminates this and means searching for documents is a quick and painless process.
Saving space and money – Physical storage costs can be extremely high, when you consider the associated costs for paper, a storage box/ file of some sort, folders and inserts and of course the cost of physically storing documents. If you use space on your business premises, it means you have less office space limiting your aspirations for growth. If you store your files off site there are warehousing costs to pay for and of course if you need to retrieve any documents you have to travel to go and get them. In comparison storing documents digitally takes up very little physical storage space and you of course eliminate the costs associated with physically storing documents. There is of course a cost associated to storing documents digitally but this should be much less than the costs for storing the same data physically.
These are just some of the primary reasons that you should consider a document management system, please let us know if you want more advice on a document management system and the type of solutions we could provide.